Scottish Walker Completes Four Classic Hill Lists in One Day

© Raymond Quinn

For most walkers, focusing on reaching the final summit of a round of mountains, such as the Munros, is enough of a goal. Some complete a list of Munros with their last two summits, perhaps the popular ascent of both Driesh and Mayar in Angus.

Raymond on King's Seat, his final summit of the four rounds  © Raymond Quinn
Raymond on King's Seat, his final summit of the four rounds
© Raymond Quinn

There have also been reports of mountain baggers finishing a round of Munros and Corbetts in one outing on one day.

However on the weekend of 18th-19th October Raymond Quinn, of Cumbernauld, went a step (or two) further, contriving to complete four rounds within 24 hours by bagging his final Munro, Corbett, Graham and Donald.

It has been a great journey, and has taken me to many different places

The 52-year-old engineer may be only the second person ever to finish the four distinct rounds in one day (Fraser McKay completed a quadruple in 2009).

Raymond started the quadruple completion on the Island of Skye, walking with a friend Stewart MacBroom. They summited the Munro, Bla Bheinn, at 1.30am on Saturday October 19 then followed the same route to descend before joining a horseshoe route, also on Skye, to reach the Corbett, Garbh Bheinn, at around 4.30am and the Graham summit, Belig, at 6.30am.

Back at the car by 8.30am, they drove to Stirlingshire, meeting two more friends, Graham MacBroom, also Stewart's brother, and Fraser Johnstone, before setting off to climb to King's Seat in the Ochil hills. At around 3.30pm on the same day at 648m elevation, Raymond ticked off his final Donald of 140 (including all the Donald Tops.)

Munro bagging on Ben Vorlich  © Raymond Quinn
Munro bagging on Ben Vorlich
© Raymond Quinn

What are they?

  • Munros are Scottish summits of at least 3000ft - there are 282 of them
  • Corbetts are Scottish mountains between 2500 and 2999 feet high, with at least 500 feet of descent on all sides - these currently number 222
  • A Graham is a Scottish hill between 2000 and 2499 feet high with a drop of at least 150 metres on all sides - and you'll need to climb 219 of them.
  • Donalds (these are odd...) are hills over 2000ft in the Scottish Lowlands. They are based on a rather complicated formula for determining separate hills, and comprise 89 hills plus a number of other named "tops". There are currently 89 Donald Hills and a further 51 Donald Tops. A complete round of The Donalds should include all 140 summits.

In total, the dad-of-three has bagged 837 different summits in the four rounds over the last 14 years, some counting as "doubles' - for instance Donalds that are also Grahams.

He says: "It has been a great journey in all – and has taken me to many different places. I have explored so many new locations, including numerous Scottish islands, which I would not have been likely to go to if I wasn't ticking summits.

"Finishing with the four final summits in each round was just something different. I had not heard of anyone else finishing the four rounds in one day and I thought I would like to do it. It had been an idea I'd had for a while but it needed some planning because of the distance between Skye and the Ochil hills and I wanted to wait for some favourable weather.

"I had a great time doing the four final summits with my friends."

Raymond, holding bottle, with friends on King's Seat, the final hill of four rounds  © Raymond Quinn
Raymond, holding bottle, with friends on King's Seat, the final hill of four rounds
© Raymond Quinn

It was in 2005, after Raymond finished his first round of Munros that he started ticking other lists. His brother invited him on a few walks to the summits of the sister list of mountains, the Corbetts – and then Raymond discovered the further lists of the Grahams and Donalds.

Raymond says: "When I finished my first round of Munros I didn't want to stop walking mountains. I can't imagine sitting around at weekends and not being outdoors.

"To start with, I did a lot of repeats of Munros with friends. Then I walked Corbetts with my brother and he walked some hills with me. We did do a lot together. I have also made new friends through walking.

"However, I have also walked many hills on my own and I enjoy the solitude. I like a mix of walking on my own and with other people."

His favourite round has been the Grahams. He explains: "There are far fewer paths and far fewer people on the Grahams, compared to the Munros and the Corbetts and I like this. Sometimes you meet no other people and I like the focus of finding my own way. It feels like more of a challenge and the navigation is more engrossing. I have done the majority of the Grahams on my own."

Raymond has no plans to stop walking mountains now.

"I do like a list and I find that a list is a reason to get out when I have the spare time" he says.

"I plan to finish my Munro Tops next and also to do the Furths. Eventually, I'll aim to finish a Full House. I have been in no great rush and I am not in a rush now. I simply like being out in the hills and mountains, especially in Scotland."

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23 Oct, 2019

"Grahams that also qualify by definition as Corbetts"

Some mistake surely!

Well spotted. I suppose you could get a Donald that was also a Graham, or a Donald that was a Corbett. But you definitely can't have a Graham/Corbett. I've amended Fi's text

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